Economics (Chronological Order):


1.      The necessity of cardinal utility, including an impossibility theorem in the single or intra-profile framework of social choice:


* Kemp, M.C. and Ng, Yew-Kwang (1976), On the existence of social welfare functions, social orderings, and social decisions functions, Economica, February, pp. 59-66. – Shows that a reasonable social welfare or decision function is not possible if the intensities of individual preferences are not used, even if individual preferences are fixed; together with Parks (1976), it opens up a whole area of ‘single-profile’ impossibility theorems.


Beyond Pareto Optimality:  The necessity of interpersonal cardinal utilities in distributional judgements and social choice, Zeitschrift für Nationalökonomie, 1982, 42(3): 207-233.


A case for happiness, cardinalism, and interpersonal comparison”, Economic Journal, , November 1997, 107(445): 1848-1858.



2.      A theory of third best:


* Towards a theory of third best, Public Finance, 1977. pp. 1-15. – Shows the usefulness of simple optimality rules despite the theory of second best.


Non-economic activities, indirect externalities, and third-best policies, Kyklos, 1975, 507-525.


3.      Separating efficiency and equality considerations in specific issues:


* Quasi-Pareto social improvements, American Economic Review, Dec. 1984, pp. 1033-1050. – Shows that it is more efficient to treat a dollar as a dollar (pure efficiency rules supreme) in specific issues, leaving the distributional objectives to the general tax/transfer system.


4.      Combining micro, macro and general-equilibrium analysis:


Aggregate demand, business expectation, and economic recovery without aggravating inflation, Australian Economic Papers, June 1977, 130-140.


Macroeconomics with non-perfect competition, Economic Journal, September 1980, 598-610.


* A micro-macroeconomic analysis based on a representative firm, Economica, May 1982, 49: 121-139.


* Ng, Yew-Kwang (1986), Mesoeconomics:  A Micro-Macro Analysis. London:  Harvester, pp. xv + 267. – Combines the traditional micro, macro, and general-equilibrium analyses into a simplified integrated analysis allowing for non-perfect competition.


Business confidence and depression prevention: A mesoeconomic perspective, American Economic Review, May 1992, 82(2): 365-371.


Non-neutrality of money under non-perfect competition: why do economists fail to see the possibility? In Arrow, Ng, and Yang, eds., Increasing Returns and Economic Analysis, London: Macmillan, 1998, 232-252.


Why is a financial crisis important? The significance of the relaxation of the assumption of perfect competition, International Journal of Business and Economics, August 2009, 8(2): 91-114.



5.      Diamond goods and burden-free taxes:


* Diamonds are a government’s best friend:  Burden-free taxes on goods valued for their values, American Economic Review, March 1987, 77: 186-191.


Mixed diamond goods and anomalies in consumer theory: Upward-sloping compensated demand curves with unchanged diamondness, Mathematical Social Sciences, 1993, 25: 287-293.


6.      * The enrichment of a sector (individual/region/country) benefits others: The third welfare theorem?, Pacific Economic Review, Nov. 1996, 1(2): 93-115.


7.      A case for higher public spending:


Relative-income effects and the appropriate level of public expenditure, Oxford Economic Papers, June 1987, 293-300.


* Efficiency, Equality, and the Foundation of Public Policy: With a Case for Higher Public Spending. London: Macmillan, 2000, pp. x + 189. – Provides a welfare economic foundation for public policy; argues in favour of maximizing the unweighted sum of individual welfares and in favour of increasing public spending.


The optimal size of public spending and distortionary costs of taxation, National Tax Journal, 2000, Vol. 52(2): 253-272.



8.      Extending welfare economics, including pushing it from the level of preference to that of welfare, the significance of increasing returns, the paradox of universal externality, the E-F conflict, the value of life, and two-part tariffs:


Income distribution as a peculiar public good:  The paradox of redistribution and the paradox of universal externality, Public Finance, 1973, 1-10.


Ng, Yew-Kwang & Mendel Weisser (1974), Optimal pricing with budgetary constraints: The case of the two-part tariff, Review of Economic Studies, July 1974, 337-345.


The paradox of universal externality, Journal of Economic Theory, 1975, 258-264.


* Equity and efficiency versus freedom and fairness:  An inherent conflict, Kyklos, 1985, 495-516.


  The older the more valuable: Divergence between utility and dollar values of life as one ages”, Journal of Economics (Zeitschrift für Nationalökonomie), 1992, 55(1): 1-16.


* From preference to happiness: Towards a more complete welfare economics, Social Choice & Welfare, 2003, 20: 307-50. – Attempts to push welfare economic analysis to include environmental quality, relative-income effects, imperfect knowledge and imperfect rationality.


*Welfare Economics: Towards a More Complete Analysis, London:  Palgrave/Macmillan, 2004, pp. xiii+355 (ISBN 0-333-97121-3).


* Increasing Returns and Economic Efficiency, Palgrave/Macmillan, U.K., 2009 pp. xiii+200.



9.      A new framework analysing the division of labour:


* Yang, Xiaokai [major contributor] and Ng, Yew-Kwang (1993), Specialization and Economic Organization:  A New Classical Microeconomic Framework.  In “Contributions to Economic Analysis”, Vol. 215, 1993, Amsterdam:  North Holland, pp. xvi + 507. – Using modern mathematical method to analyse the Classical economic problems of division of labour and evolution of economic organization at the economy level.


Yew-Kwang Ng & Siang Ng (2003), Do the economies of specialization justify the work ethics? An examination of Buchanan’s hypothesis, Journal of Economic Behavior and Organization, 50: 339-53.


Division of labour and transaction costs: An introduction, Division of Labour & Transaction Costs, 2005, 1(1):1-13.


Yew-Kwang Ng & Siang Ng (2007), Why should governments encourage improvements in infrastructure?  Indirect network externality of transaction efficiency, Public Finance and Management, 7(4): 340-362.


Yew-Kwang Ng & Dingsheng Zhang (2007), Average-cost pricing, increasing returns, and optimal output: comparing home and market production, Journal of Economics, 90(2): 167-92.


10. Environmental Economics (including sustainable development and climate change):


Ng, Y.K. and Wills, I. (2002). Welfare economics and sustainable development, in Knowledge for Sustainable Development - An Insight into the Encyclopedia of Life Support Systems, UNESCO Publishing / EOLSS Publishers, Paris, France, Oxford, UK. Vol. 3, pp. 485-506.


Sustainable development: A problem of environmental disruption now instead of intertemporal ethics, Sustainable Development, 2004, 12: 150-60.


* Optimal environmental charges/taxes: Easy to estimate and surplus-yielding, Environmental and Resource Economics, 2004, 28(4):395-408. – At least desirable to tax disruption at the marginal cost of abatement which is easier to estimate than the marginal damage of disruption.


     Eternal Coase and external costs: A case for bilateral taxation and amenity rights”, European Journal of Political Economy, 2007, 23: 641-59. [Awarded Best Paper Prize at the Economics and Environment Network National Workshop 2005, Australian National University.]


* Consumption tradeoff vs. catastrophes avoidance: Implications of some recent results in happiness studies on the economics of climate change, Climatic Change, 2011, 105(1): 109-127. – Argues that the problem of climate change is not so much trading off consumption now with the future but that of reducing the probability of catastrophes and that this strengthens the need for immediate and strong actions.



Beyond Economics:


11.  Providing a strong moral philosophical support for utilitarianism:


* Bentham or Bergson?  Finite sensibility, utility functions and social welfare functions, Review of Economic Studies, 1975, pp. 545-570. – Shows that, with compelling axioms and the recognition of finite discriminatory power, what the society should maximize should be the unweighted sum of individual utilities/welfares.


Expected subjective utility:  Is the Neumann-Morgenstern utility the same as the Neoclassical’s?, Social Choice and Welfare, 1984, 177-186.


Ng, Yew-Kwang & Peter Singer (1981). An argument for utilitarianism, Canadian Journal of Philosophy, 11: 229-239.


Ng, Yew-Kwang & Peter Singer (1990). An argument for utilitarianism: A defence, Australasian Journal of Philosophy, 68(4): 448-454.


Welfarism and utilitarianism: A rehabilitation, Utilitas, November 1990, 2(2): 171-193.



12.  Proposing welfare biology:


* Towards welfare biology:  Evolutionary economics of animal consciousness and suffering, Biology & Philosophy, Vol. 10, No. 3, pp. 255-285. – Combines economic analysis and the principles of natural selection to provide insights on some tricky questions of animal welfare such as: Which species are capable of welfare? Whether their welfare levels are positive or negative? How could welfare be increased?


13. Solving the moral philosophical dilemma of optimal population:


* What should we do about future generations?  The impossibility of Parfit’s Theory X, Economics and Philosophy, 1989, 5: 135-253.


Social criteria for evaluating population change:  An alternative to the Blackorby-Donaldson Criterion”, Journal of Public Economics, 1986, 29: 375-381.


14. Happiness studies, including proposing a way to measure happiness more cardinally and interpersonally more comparably, and a new national success indicator:


* Happiness surveys: Some comparability issues and an exploratory survey based on just perceivable increments, Social Indicators Research, 38(1): 1-29, May 1996.


The East-Asian happiness gap, Pacific Economic Review, 2002, 7(1): 51-63.


Happiness studies: Ways to improve comparability and some public policy implications, Economic Record, June 2008, 84:253-66.


* Environmentally responsible happy nation index, Social Indicators Research, 2008, 85:425–446.



15. Contributing towards the solution of the mystery of the origin of the universe and part solution to the problem of the lack of time on Earth for evolution:


Complex niches favour rational species, Journal of Theoretical Biology, April 1996, 179(4): 303-311.


* On the origin of our cosmos: A proposition of axiomatic cosmic consciousness, Journal of Cosmology, 2011, Vol 13, 3754-3764.


* How Did the Universe Come About? Axiomatic Evolutionary Creationism, Fudan University Press, August 2011. ISBN: 978-7-309-08189-3/P.007.